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Does The Sofitel LA still have that certain je ne sais quoi we've come to love about Sofitels? A HotelChatter Review
We noticed earlier this year that some changes were afoot at Sofitel Los Angeles, with both a new restaurant and bar coming to the Beverly Hills outpost of the French brand, replacing SimonLA and Rande Gerber’s Stone Rose. Just this past weekend, we had a chance to check it out in more detail, spending the night here while in town.
Check-In: We drove to the Sofitel from LAX, which takes about 45 minutes if traffic isn’t too bad. Valet parking is $34 a day (with in and out privileges), which adds up quickly. Reception is to your left as you enter the black marble lobby, with a beautiful black and white drawing of Los Angeles behind the desk, contrasting with deep purple flower arrangements. After the typical bonjour-greeting, we were on our way to our third-floor room in minutes.
The James Chicago has always been a bona fide "cool" spot for boutique hotel lovers as well as "food enthusiasts" but now it's destined to be the place for (refined) drinkers with its new JIMMY Chicago bar.
A spin-off of the popular spot JIMMY at the James Hotel in New York, this Windy City Jimmy is done by the same partners, David Rabin, Larry Poston and Johnny Swet. While it doesn't have a killer rooftop location, it does have a semi-secret entrance.
JIMMY is located behind the new Burke's Bacon Bar, the sandwich shop from Chef David Burke. And yes, that's located inside the hotel as well. Here are some step-by-step directions to getting into JIMMY:
Enter through the side of the hotel, then walk to the back of Burke’s Bacon Bar thorough a small vestibule room lined with sparkling chrome ball chain curtains.
Once inside, you'll find a "jewel box of a cocktail bar" designed by Thomas Schlesser, reminiscent of the 1970s with earth tones, bronze surfaces, lounge chairs, a wood-paneled bar and sexy low lighting.
But what will catch your eye the most is the cocktail menu, which is inspired by cinema. JIMMY partner and NYC star mixologist, Johnny Swet, has hand-crafted each drink such as the Bondsman (apple brandy, vodka, lime, cranberry juice, agave and seltzer) and the Mexican Julep (tequila, watermelon, lime, agave and cilantro muddled in a silver cup with crushed ice.)
If that photo above tickles your fancy -- for both the Scotch collection and the be-kilted Scotsman -- you'll want to be adding Edinburgh's The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte property to your hotel bucket list.
The five-star landmark hotel, located on the city's main Princes Street, has just opened SCOTCH a new signature whisky bar located in its former drawing room space that features the largest collection of purely Scottish whiskies available to the general public in Edinburgh.
Our favorite West Village 1920s-style hotel, The Jade is taking a cue from our favorite 1920s-set television show, Boardwalk Empire to bring its guests a Prohibition Package. No bootlegging required.
The fourth season of Boardwalk Empire begins on Sunday, and to get you in the mood, The Jade is offering accommodation in a Standard Room, two tickets to the Blue Note Jazz Club, an in-room cupcake treat from boozy bakery Prohibition Cupcakes, two specialty prohibition-era cocktails and a cocktail demonstration at their restaurant with a speakeasy vibe, Grape & Vine. Note: we recommend the Grape & Vine's "Bee's Knees" (gin, honey, and fresh lemon).
If you're in withdrawal from HBO’s Girls season 2 ( and the current re-runs aren't helping) you aren't alone. Though already filming the third season around NYC, the series isn't expected to air until 2014.
In order to soothe our sorrow, we advise to embark on a mock "Girls Bar Crawl", retracing places in the city where the women had a cocktail or two. There's plenty of spots to choose from, but we're focusing on our favorite watering holes--hotel bars.
Here are three hotel bars in Manhattan where the show was shot, and a recommended drink to honor the loony ladies---especially leading lady Hannah.
Location: Randolph’s Bar at The Warwick New York Hotel
Storyline: Hannah’s parents stay at this Midtown hotel built in the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst and invite her there to declare they're cutting her off financially. Hannah ends up passing out in their room, but eventually walks out the hotel's 6th Avenue entrance the morning after shaken, but not destroyed.
Drink: A Comfort Manhattan made with Southern Comfort. Because, well, who wouldn't need soothing after a bombshell like that?
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We hate to keep going on about summer ending soon and all but, as if to prove our point, time’s running out on some of these fave seasonal cocktails. You better get ‘em while you can.
The bar downstairs at the Andaz 5th Avenue has some summery cocktails on offer until September 30. The two most popular are the Taken to Task, containing Aylesbury Duck vodka, lemon, Cochhi Americano, berries and orange bitters, and the Scarlet Rum Old-Fashioned, with Flor de Caña 7 year rum, Scarlet Ibis rum, Clear Creek Pear Liqueur and Angostura bitters. Mmm… boozy.
The Waldorf Astoria New York has U.S. Open fever and is offering a grand slam of a cocktail during the run of the matches in August and September. The Tennis Ball features the hotel’s Top of the Waldorf Honey produced by the six apiaries on the 20th floor along with Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, Cocchi Americano, Midori melon liqueur and fresh lemon juice.
Two more "can't misses" below!
The hotel's 260 guestrooms and suites all have kitchenettes, sofa beds, and free WiFi, and the location, while not totally central, is a short walking distance from the Lincoln Center, ABC Studios, Central Park, and the Beacon Theater, which is practically next door.
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Polo season is in full gear in the UK and will be starting soon enough in the rest of the world. Whether it’s polo-inspired cocktail menus, training with the polo pros or exclusive access to top matches, these hotels want you to experience polo paradise.
Three of the world’s top polo matches take place in Argentina, so it’s a pretty big deal there. The new bar at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires pays homage to the sport and to the revered Argentinean polo team, La Dolfina. However, the Pony Line Bar and Lounge may be clad in brown leather and have a riding motif throughout, but it ain’t a sports bar as you know it to be.
It’s more for the urban sophisticate who wants to try the housemade chorizo and oxtail empanadas to go along with his or her artisanal locally-produced Stallion beer than the Bud Light and wings crowd. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that—we like a good stack of salt-and-pepper wings as much as the next guy or gal. We’re just sayin’.)
If you want to get an even bigger taste of the game, as a hotel guest you can visit La Dolfina Polo Ranch to learn more about the sport and why Argentina is reputed to be so good at it. Rates start at $595 in October.
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Last week we told you about LA’s Four Seasons offering up a ½ oz shot of the revered Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6 cognac for a healthy $1,000 a pop. Now we’ve found out that The Bar at The Dorchester in London has fired a shot over their bow, so to speak, thereby upping the cognac war ante.
To celebrate the launch of the Louis XIII Rare Cask 42, 6, the house of Rémy Martin asked this Dorchester Collection hotel to create the ultimate “Louis XIII Dorchester Experience.” For the first time ever, you can taste all four Louis XIII ‘expressions’ side by side: Louis XIII, Louis XIII Black Pearl, Louis XIII Rare Cask 43,8 and the recently launched Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6. With only 20 flights available and most of the Louis XIII Rare Cask and Black Pearl now sold-out worldwide, there’s no time to lose.
And it gets even better.
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We loathe saying goodbye to summer before it's time, but back-to-school commercials always perform hateful Jedi mind-tricks on us. We begin to believe there's only a short time left between swimsuit and turtle neck season come end of August.
That's why we're presenting this "Last Chance Rooftop Party" guide designed to get you out there before the scene packs up and heads to warmer pastures. Those of you in warmer climates have little to worry about, but for those whose barometers are already dropping, this one's for you!
Le Bain at The Standard NYC
This bi-level roof bar and club in the Meatpacking District is as trendy as it gets. In fact, it might be a tad intimidating to those unfamiliar with The Standard's unofficial "live and let live policy". In other words--the pool area? There may be some toplessness about. The best thing to do is don your shades and focus on the choice music, indulging in wicked drinks, and chowing down on freshly made crepes--savory or sweet. And turn your attention to the glittery Hudson River if your eyes are being assaulted by the bumping and grinding of hips dancing. Join party-girl Susanne Bartsch's outlandish Tuesday soirees, groove to house music all night long (4 am on Friday's) and more. BTW, there's no cover charge to partake in all this fabulousness, but there may be a line. Hit up Facebook for guest list entry.
The SLS Hotel at South Beach
Starting at 12pm on Sunday's, the hotel's trendy Hyde Beach pool area turns into the jumping J'Adore party. Live DJs pump up the jam and bikini-and-Speedo clad party people dance the day away. In between shaking their groove thangs, serious cocktails and loads of bubbly is poured and folks dine off a special snack or Brunch menu. How does churrasco con chimichurri (grilled skirt steak with herb salad )or market ceviche prepared Peruvian style with cancha corn sound? Here's where the beautiful SoBe people show up in droves to snag a cabana or lounger, so reserve early and wear your best bathing attire.
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As the grand finale to cocktail week here's Part 2 of our round-up of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. Don't forget to let us know what’s going on in your section of the world!
Beer is the new wine: Before some of you get stressed out, we’re not saying that wine’s going away, but we have noticed that beer is getting more attention these days. Some hotel bars are making beer their “thing,” some are making their own and some are getting it made for them.
Most of us tend to only hang out at airport hotels when we’re going to and from a place, but the Four Points by Sheraton LAX has a 100-beer beererie called Brewster’s that includes an ever-changing tap list of craft and microbrews. They have an on-staff Director of Brewer Relations who ensures the beer list is fresh and filled with rare brews, monthly beer appreciation nights, beer pairings such as Smoked Stone Porter with smoked salmon, beer turndown service that includes a beer-stocked minibar, and a recently-launched Hoppily Ever After package that lets the happy couple-to-be create their very own custom, brewed-to-taste beer for their big day—isn’t that just so romantic?
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As the grand finale to cocktail week here's a round-up of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know!
A salad in every sip: Complementing the trend we told you about in our What’s Out, What’s In column where the drink IS the meal, we’re finding that crafty mixologists are making our drinks a wee bit healthier and sneaking veggies into them to make sure that we’re getting all of our daily recommended vitamins.
Splashes at Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach has a VegGin’ on the Rocks made with Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin, agave nectar (which is said to have a low glycemic index, BTW, which means your blood sugar won’t spike), lime juice, and baby arugula–-all muddled together and topped with house made soda water. You can really taste the goodness.
The Fairmont Chicago’s Green Goose Cocktail features a trio of super foods: kale, celery and granny smith apples. The juiced greens are mixed with Grey Goose, fresh lime juice, chartreuse, and simple syrup for a nutrient-filled flavor explosion.
The appropriately-named Salad Cocktail from the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto is a heart-healthy concoction of juiced celery, spinach, beet, apple and pear combined with 1.5 oz of gin. To top it off, it’s garnished with sherry vinaigrette soaked raspberries and sous vide beets and crisp romaine leaves. We’re getting into the realm of “drink as dinner” with this one.
At Caesars Entertainment Resorts and Casinos in Atlantic City you can find the savoury Red Pepper Margarita–-a mix of red pepper juice, jalapeno rings, five-spice simple syrup and tequila with a smoked salt rimmed glass. Next trend below!